Objective: Palliative care of the terminally ill requires not only treatment of physical pain, but also care for a patient's spiritual and social needs. In Japan, where many customs correlate closely with the seasons of fall, winter, spring, and summer, seasonal events carry significance for patients who have reached a terminal stage of disease. This study determined how Japanese hospice patients evaluate a program that celebrates seasonal events and considers the modality and significance of season events at hospices.
Methods: A questionnaire survey was conducted for 1 year between August 2000 and July 2001 at a hospice located in the suburbs of Tokyo, Japan. Of the original 48 instruments, a total of 43 instruments were returned (response rate: 89.6%).
Results: Results showed that 72.1% of respondents participated in seasonal events, and the majority of participants positively evaluated their experiences of seasonal events. Positive aspects included being able to get a feeling for the seasons (74.2%) and being able to interact with staff and volunteers (51.6%). Negative aspects included that the events were too long (9.7%) and tiring (6.5%), and that the events made one feel sad (6.5%). Reasons for participating in seasonal events included seeming fun (71.0%), recreative (58.1%), and being entertaining (48.4%).
Significance of results: Overall findings suggest that there is significance in celebrating the seasons with a monthly event at hospices. Further research is needed on the modality and experiences of celebrating the seasons at hospices in other nations.